BIOL 134
The Tropics: Biology and Social Issues Fall 2023
Division III Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed ENVI 134
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

Biology and Social Issues of the Tropics explores the biological dimensions of social and environmental issues in tropical societies, focusing specifically on the tropics of Africa, Asia, Latin America, Oceania, and the Caribbean. Social issues are inextricably bound to human ecologies and their environmental settings. Each section of the course provides the science behind the issues and ends with options for possible solutions, which are debated by the class. The course highlights differences between the tropics and areas at higher latitudes while also emphasizing global interconnectedness. It begins with a survey of the tropical environment, including a global climate model, variation in tropical climates and the amazing biodiversity of tropical biomes. The next section focuses on human population biology, and emphasizes demography and the role of disease particularly malaria, AIDS and Covid-19 (SARS-CoV-2). The final part of the course covers the place of human societies in local and global ecosystems including the challenges of tropical food production, the interaction of humans with their supporting ecological environment, and global climate change. This course fulfills the DPE requirement. Through lectures, debates and readings, students confront social and environmental issues and policies from the perspective of biologists. This builds a framework for lifelong exploration of human diversity in terms of difference, power and equity.
The Class: Format: lecture; Debate
Limit: 62
Expected: 62
Class#: 1025
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: two hour exams, a short paper, debate presentation, and a final exam
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: Preference will be given to Environmental Studies majors/concentrators, students in need of a Division III or DPE requirement, and then Seniors, Juniors, Sophomores, and First Year students.
Unit Notes: Does not count for credit in the Biology major.
Distributions: Division III Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
ENVI 134 Division III BIOL 134 Division III
DPE Notes: This course highlights differences between the tropics and higher latitudes. For each section we focus on difference--different natural habitats and biodiversity, different patterns of population growth, different human disease profiles, different types of agriculture and different contributions to and impacts of climate change. For each section we highlight differences in power and the inequities of resource distribution. We then debate potential solutions to ameliorate these inequities.
Attributes: ENVI Natural World Electives
GBST African Studies
PHLH Biomedical Determinants of Health

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